Entries tagged with: ben frost
photo: Michael Gira in Chicago last month (more by James Richards IV)
The upcoming Big Ears Festival happening March 27-29 in Knoxville, TN, has been expanded once again. Like in past years, the festival will include a film portion, and a selection of that has been curated by filmmaker/musician Jim Jarmusch and Michael Gira, whose respective bands SQURL and Swans were already on the lineup. Like they just did In NYC, Jarmusch's band SQURL will perform scores to Man Ray's silent films. Here's more:
SQÜRL, film director Jim Jarmusch's band with drummer Carter Logan, will perform music that they wrote for several silent films from the 1930s by the legendary surrealist Man Ray. This project was premiered in late February in New York as part of WNYC's Silent Films, Live Scores program. SQÜRL, joined by lute virtuoso Jozef Van Wissem, also performed the score for Jarmusch's most recent film, Only Lovers Left Alive.There will be a Bill Morrison retrospective too, during which jazz guitarist Bill Frisell's quartet performing Frisell's live score to Morrison's The Great Flood (like he did at MoMA last year).
The occult electronic duo Demdike Stare will perform their re-scoring of 1922 silent Swedish/Danish documentary / horror classic, HÄXAN, Witchcraft Through the Ages. Technically filmed as a documentary about how superstition and the misunderstanding of disease and mental illness could lead to witch hunts, its dramatized sequences push it into the realm of horror films. It was originally banned in the United States.
Rounding out the Big Ears film programs for 2015, indie director Jim Jarmusch and Swans founder and leader Michael Gira have collaborated with the Criterion Film Collection in curating a program of select films, which will be screened on Sunday at Regal Entertainment Group's downtown Riviera Cineplex. Jarmusch's program is "Three in Black and White," an international triptych featuring Satayajit Ray's The Music Room, Aki Kaurismäki's La Vie de Bohéme, and Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg. Gira has selected a single film: the cult classic Eraserhead, David Lynch's groundbreaking feature film debut.
These additions join Swans, tUnE-yArDs, Silver Apples, Perfume Genius, Grouper, Ben Frost and more. Festival passes are still available.
Updated lineup below...
The lineup has been expanded for the 2015 Big Ears Festival, happening March 27-29 in Knoxville, TN. New additions include psych pioneers Silver Apples, former Battles frontman Tyondai Braxton (performing HIVE), Syrian pop singer Omar Souleyman, folk singer Ryley Walker, guitar wiz William Tyler, modern classical collective Bing & Ruth, electronic/ambient musician Loscil, cabaret singer Little Annie, and Chinese composer Wu Man.
They join previously announced artists such as Laurie Anderson, tUnE-yArDs, Swans, Perfume Genius, Grouper, Sam Amidon, Max Richter, Ben Frost and more. Tickets are still available.
Updated lineup below...
photo: Cass McCombs in Brooklyn in 2012 (more by Greg Cristman)
As you may know, there's no lack of events going on all over the country this year in celebration of The Grateful Dead's 50th anniversary. One of those is "Brooklyn Is Dead," Alex Bleeker and the Freaks' tribute show on February 10 at Brooklyn Bowl, and since we last posted, the lineup for that got way more impressive. It now also includes Cass McCombs, Darkside's Dave Harrington, Darkside collaborator Will Epstein, Woods' Jarvis Taveniere, and Patti Smith Group's Lenny Kaye. Tickets for that show, which also celebrates Relix's 40th anniversary, are still available. Flyer below.
In other news related to Alex Bleeker, his other band Real Estate are among the artists announced for Iowa City's Mission Creek Festival happening March 31-April 5. Also on that lineup is Freddie Gibbs, How to Dress Well, The Sea & Cake, King Tuff, Father John Misty, Glenn Kotche & Jeffrey Zeigler, Foxygen, Amen Dunes, Ryley Walker, Silver Apples, SQÜRL (ft. Jim Jarmusch) and more. Full lineup below. Tickets are on sale.
In other news related to The Grateful Dead, drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann have announced that they'll team up ahead of the Grateful Dead shows for a collaborative set with The Disco Biscuits (which they also did at Gathering of the Vibes 2014) on April 17 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
Grateful Dead tribute band Dark Star Orchestra also have six NYC-area dates coming up, including Brooklyn Bowl.
And right before Phil Lesh's 75th birthday shows at Capitol Theatre (two of which are still on sale), Warren Haynes (who's joining Phil for those shows) will play the Cap with his own band Gov't Mule, joined by special guest (and past Phil Lesh collaborator) John Scofield on March 13 & 14. Tickets for those shows are on sale now.
Lastly, two days after the "Brooklyn Is Dead" show, Dave Harrington plays his own Brooklyn show on February 12 at Shea Stadium with Sam Cohen, Shark? and Kinsey.
Mission Creek Festival lineup below...
photo: Julia Holter at Bowery Ballroom in 2012 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
NYC's annual Ecstatic Music Festival returns to the Merkin Concert Hall this year with various shows happening from February through April, following the two free concerts at the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place in January. As always, it includes collaborations between indie and classical artists, and this year's lineup features Julia Holter, Xiu Xiu, Kaki King, John Zorn, Ikue Mori, Helado Negro, Emily Wells, Bang on a Can All-Stars (premiering works by Glenn Kotche, Jace Clayton and Ben Frost), and more. Tickets are on sale now.
Full lineup and schedule below...
First tracks, then honorable mentions, and now Pitchfork has put out their Top 50 Albums of 2014. There's nothing entirely out of left field, but there's definitely some surprises here. Taylor Swift, whose album was not reviewed at all (I guess it was a pretty obscure one), comes in at #31 with her album, 1989. Sun Kil Moon, which was the only 2014 album in their Top 10 Albums of the Decade So Far this past August (and seemed like a sure bet for #1) dropped down to #7 and was beaten out by his enemies The War on Drugs. TWOD actually came in at #3 themselves, and the two ahead of them are two you may not have seen coming.
We already knew that Pallbearer, the only Best New Music metal album of 2014, was an honorable mention, which unsurprisingly left zero metal albums on this list. No other BNM album got snubbed (save for a Hyperdub compilation and the Beyonce album, but that was probably because it was technically a 2013 release), and there's not really any glaring omissions in terms of what Pitchfork appeared to champion this year.
See the list for yourself below...
intro by Bill Pearis
Grooms @ Death by Audio's final show (more by PSquared)
Grooms' last live show, the final night of Death by Audio, was a little hard to get into. Their next NYC show should not prove as difficult. They're playing Brooklyn Night Bazaar on Saturday (12/12) with The Teen Age, Glazzies and headliners Celestial Shore. That's a free show where you can maybe get some holiday shopping done (or a round of mini-golf) and you can RSVP to get on the skip-the-line list.
Grooms' next show after this weekend is opening for A Place to Bury Strangers (who also played DbA's final night) at Music Hall of Williamsburg on February 17 (tickets).That serves as a record release show for both APTBS' Transfixiation, and Grooms' Comb the Feelings Through Your Hair which are both out that day. (You can hear "Doctor M" below.) Look for a tour after that, details are still TBA at the moment.
Main man Travis Johnson took time out from practicing for tomorrow's show to give us his Top 10 LPs of 2014, plus a few runners-up, with a little commentary for each. You can read that below...
UK music site Drowned in Sound is kinda the British equivalent of Pitchfork, albeit with a very strong community aspect to it. They just published their 50 Favourite Albums of 2014 list and while it contains many of the LPs we've been seeing on a lot of these lists, it's a distinctly not-American point of view. Well, at least their #1. Check out the whole list below...
SPIN returned with their Top Albums of 2014 list today. It's got a lot of the indie albums that usually show up on these lists (Caribou, Future Islands, FKA twigs, Parquet Courts, Cloud Nothings, How to Dress Well, Swans, St. Vincent, Real Estate, etc), a handful of rap albums (YG, Young Thug, Shabazz Palaces, Run the Jewels, Schoolboy Q, Freddie Gibbs & Madlib, etc), metal (Pallbearer), punk (Against Me!, Joyce Manor), mainstream pop (Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert), and a couple headscratchers (Betty Who at #11?). You-know-who scores the #1 slot once again here. Check it out for yourself below.
Big Ears Festival will return to various Knoxville, TN venues in 2015 from March 27-29, and the initial lineup was just announced. Kronos Quartet will be the artists in residence for the weekend and perform at several concerts. Others performing include Laurie Anderson, tUnE-yArDs, Swans, Perfume Genius, Grouper, Sam Amidon, Max Richter, Ben Frost, Bryce Dessner, Bill Frisell, Jamie xx, Clark, Demdike Stare, SQURL, A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Nosaj Thing, Steve Gunn, Nels Cline, Amen Dunes, Jozef Van Wissem, Holly Herndon, Terry Riley & Ryan Riley, Harold Budd & Keith Lowe, The Bad Plus, Rhiannon Giddens, Tanya Tagaq and Hildur Guonadottir. Stay tuned for more lineup additions.
The shows will take place at the Tennessee and Bijou Theatres, the intimate Square Room, the Knoxville Museum of Art and more. Weekend passes go on sale Friday (11/14) at noon EST. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Knoxville music and arts education programs Joy of Music School and Community School of the Arts.
Swans @ Lincoln Hall (more by Brigid Gallagher)
From the Very Interesting Press Release Department:
Le Guess Who? Festival (The Netherlands) is extremely proud to announce two special projects for 2014: a 3-day program curated by Swans/Michael Gira, and the world premiere of 24-Hour Dronefest. Le Guess Who? 2014 takes place November 20-23 in Utrecht, NL. Previously announced acts include Dr. John & The Nite Trippers, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Selda feat. Boom Pam, St. Vincent and Einstürzende Neubauten.24 non stop hours of drone. We can't wait!!
Michael Gira, the main force behind the mighty Swans, will curate a three-day program for the project Mouth To Mouth. This is the second installment of Mouth To Mouth, and the first spanning multiple days and venues. The curated line-up includes Swans, legendary UK post-punk band Wire, New York psychedelic/electronic pioneers Silver Apples, Dominick Fernow's Prurient, Carla Bozulich (Evangelista), Xiu Xiu, Baby Dee, Jenny Hval and noise tyrant Ben Frost.
The Mouth To Mouth-project will also feature a special performance of the London based post-punk group Savages, together with Japanese avant-rock band Bo Ningen, entitled 'Words To The Blind'. Inspired by the surrealist, early DADA concept of simultaneous poetry, the group experiments with improvisation and noise. Le Guess Who? will be the first time this performance of all new material will be seen and heard outside of London.
This year, Le Guess Who? will host the world premiere of 24-Hour Drone Fest, initiated together with New York's Basilica Hudson. Beginning at midnight on Saturday, November 22, this project will cover the entire spectrum of drone during 24 non-stop hours of live performances and installations. First acts confirmed for this project are avant-gardistic producer/composer William Basinski (amongst others known for his four-part The Disintegration Loops), guitarist/producer/composer Stephen O'Malley (Sunn O)))), Tim Hecker, London-based duo Raime, and Steve Hauschildt (formerly of Emeralds). More acts for 24-Hour Dronefest will be added soon.
As the release says, the 24 hours of drone thing is a collaboration with New York's own Basilica Hudson where Swans and Tim Hecker are also playing as part of Basilica SoundScape in September. As previously mentioned, that NY fest will also play the Scott Walker / Sunn O))) album that comes out ten days later, every hour from 2-9 PM on Saturday of the fest at Future Past Studio, which is located near Basilica.
Catch Bo Ningen back in the USA when they tour with Kasabian this fall.
The Europe festival won't be the first time Bo Ningen and Savages have collaborated.
Unlike Savages, Swans appear on the recently released "Best Albums of the Decade So Far" list from Pitchfork.
The full line-up for Mouth To Mouth, curated by Swans/Michael Gira, is listed with more Netherlands fest info below.
by Rob Sperry-Fromm
Ben Frost at Brooklyn Masonic Temple in 2011 (more by Greg Cristman)
Iceland-by-way-of-Australia extreme noise composer Ben Frost has recently announced some fall tour dates as he continues to support his excellent 2014 album A U R O R A. The tour will include a stop in NYC for a show at The Wick on October 18. That show is presented by Pitchfork's metal arm, Show No Mercy, and preexisting metal series Blackened Music as the first in a new series they're calling "Tinnitus," which will focus on "composers of extreme sound." Frost generally performs with a band that includes master percussionists Thor Harris (Swans) and Greg Fox (Liturgy, Zs), among other talented musicians, and his live show is something to behold. No word on who'll be playing with him (or the rest of the lineup) but tickets are on sale now.
Check out full tour dates for Ben Frost along with video of a live performance, below...
Celebrating their 15th anniversaries in style, Montréal's high profile digital arts festival Elektra, and electronic music and digital creativity institution MUTEK, have joined forces, synchronized their dates and created one powerhouse combined event this year. To accommodate their ambitious plans, this two-festival-in-one affair, christened EM15, has extended itself by a day to make room for its shared agenda. Now starting on Tuesday May 27, programming runs six days until Sunday June 1, and will feature more than 100 Canadian and international artists, and several new venues.The multi-venue Montreal festival EM15 revealed its full lineup which includes Nicolas Jaar (with some his friends like Will Epstein and Sasha Spielberg), Donato Dozzy, Ricardo Villalobos, Lee Bannon, Voices from the Lake, Archie Pelago, Heatsick, Richie Hawtin, Ben Frost, Holly Herndon, Egyptrixx, Jonas Reinhardt, Oneohtrix Point Never, Tim Hecker and more. Tickets, including festival passes and individual show tickets, are on sale now.
Full day-by-day lineup below...
Avant-garde composer Ben Frost will release his new album, A U R O R A, on May 27. Like his previous work, it's ambient but you'd be hard pressed to call it mellow. There's a lot of tension here, which cracks open into bursts of noise. The record features former Liturgy drummer Greg Fox, Shahzad Ismaily (who both just played Ecstatic Music Fest with Colin Stetson), and Thor Harris of Swans/Shearwater. You can stream "Venter" from the album, as well as an LP trailer, below.
While Ben hasn't announced any A U R O R A performances in North America yet, he does a have a few projects happening on our shores. He contributed sounds to an installation called "Ephemera" that will be on display at NYC's Audio Visual Arts Gallery in the East Village from March 31 - April 6. Part of the Unsound Festival, the project from artist Geza Schoen, also features sonic contributions from Tim Hecker, and Kode9's Steve Goodman:
Bringing together scent and sound in startling new ways, the first phase of Ephemera is an installation that will present olfactory compositions based on musical resonances and reverberations...Ben also provided the music for FAR, which features choreography by Wayne McGregor and jaw-dropping visuals, including a computerized pin board of 3,200 LED lights. FAR will be performed at Pittsburgh's Byham Theatre on April 26 (more info), and at Washington DC's Kennedy Center from May 1 - 3 (more info).
...Three musicians -- Ben Frost, Tim Hecker, and Steve Goodman (aka Kode9) -- created sonic raw material which Schoen then reinterpreted to create three different scents: Noise, Drone, and Bass, respectively. Schoen's scents were then used to guide the development of further sounds to fit an installation-style environment.
All dates are listed, along with LP trailer and "Venter" stream, below...
DOWNLOAD: Colin Stetson - "High Above A Grey Green Sea" (MP3)
Colin Stetson w/ Bon Iver at Bonnaroo 2012 (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
As mentioned, sax machine Colin Stetson is set to release a new solo album this year, and since we last spoke, more details on that have been revealed. The album is called New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light and it will be out on April 30 via Constellation. It features guest vocals from Justin Vernon on four tracks (Colin's been a Bon Iver member for a while now) and was mixed by Ben Frost, who also worked on New History Warfare Vol. 2. You can download the avant-garde album track, "High Above A Grey Green Sea," above or stream it below. The album art and tracklist are also below.
Colin will be supporting the album with an extensive international tour which hits NYC on May 8 at Le Poisson Rouge. Tickets for that show are on sale now. Most of the surrounding shows are with past collaborator Sarah Neufeld (Arcade Fire, Bell Orchestre), but no support has been announced for the LPR show yet.
UPDATE: Neufeld plays LPR too, and Rafiq Bhatia as well.
A list of all dates, song stream, album art and tracklist below...
Swans at Music Hall of Williamsburg (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
Swans are back with a new double album, The Seer, due via Young God Records on August 28. The new effort features appearances from Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), former bandmate Jarboe, Bruce Lamont, Ben Frost, members of Akron/Family ( who served with him in Angels of Light) and members of Low. Gira comments:
The Seer took 30 years to make. It's the culmination of every previous Swans album as well as any other music I've ever made, been involved in or imagined. But it's unfinished, like the songs themselves. It's one frame in a reel. The frames blur, blend and will eventually fade.While you're waiting for August 28 to roll around, you can check out a trailer for the DVD portion of The Seer and all listed Swans tour dates (Nothing for NYC yet).
The songs began on an acoustic guitar, then were fleshed out with (invaluable) help from my friends, then were further tortured and seduced in rehearsals, live and in the studio, and now they await further cannibalism and force-feeding as we prepare to perform some of them live, at which point they'll mutate further, endlessly, or perhaps be discarded for a while.
Despite what you might have heard or presumed, my quest is to spread light and joy through the world. My friends in Swans are all stellar men. Without them I'm a kitten, an infant. Our goal is the same: ecstasy!
Ben Frost at Brooklyn Masonic Temple (more by Greg Cristman)
After a successful inaugural year, Unsound returns in 2011. As discussed, the ten day festival will take place from April 1st - 10th at multiple venues across New York City with the musical program taking place from April 6th - 10th.
Kicking off April 6th at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, as also discussed Unsound will host Music For Solaris, a multimedia experience that incorporates the Tarkovsky film, Lem's written source material, and music "written for twenty-nine string players, two percussionists, prepared piano, guitars and electronics by Ben Frost (Australia / Iceland) and Daníel Bjarnason (Iceland) in collaboration with one of Poland's leading orchestras, Sinfonietta Cracovia." Brian Eno and Nick Robertson will be on hand for "film manipulations" of the Tarkovsky film.
The next three days will see events with Morton Subotnick, Atom, Lone, Badawi, Kontext, Alan Howarth, Harald Grosskopf, Emeralds, the previously mentioned debut of the new incarnation of Skull Defekts with Daniel Higgs (April 3rd at Littlefield), and so much more.
On April 10th, the festival will close up shop with with three events, one of which will feature the NYC live and dark debut of Lustmord with Void Ov Voices (aka Attila of Mayhem) and Robert Piotrowicz at Abrons Art Center.
More details on Unsound NYC are below.
photos by Greg Cristman, words by BBG
Michael Gira, Norman Westberg, and the new incarnation of Swans played their first NYC show since reformation at Brooklyn Masonic Temple on Friday night, 10/8. They were joined by tour-mate Baby Dee and recent addition Ben Frost as support. The show was one of two NYC dates on a larger tour for the reactivated post-punk/noise/industrial pioneers (previous shows included Pop Montreal and the Black Cat in DC). Swans played their 2nd NYC show at Bowery Ballroom on Saturday night (sans Ben Frost, avec Baby Dee). Both NYC shows sold out in advance. The Brooklyn gig featured an afterhours party with Sasha Grey, Caleb (Sacred Bones), and DJ JonBenet (Prurient, Cold Cave) on the lower level. That drew its own separate crowd in addition to the post-show revelers.
Ben Frost's opening set was particularly impressive, mixing guitar acrobatics and laptop scientifics that took full use of the considerable soundsystem. It was a fantastic set; I normally have a hard time enduring solo laptop-musician/DJ sets, but watched the entire thing. Unfortunately I missed all of Baby Dee.
Swans blasted on stage with the opening thump of "No Words/No Thoughts", before transitioning into a bit of a reworked version of that song. Their set was overwhelmingly heavy with material from the incredible new My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky (five of the eight tracks), but the band made stops by their earliest works too ("Sex, God, Sex" from Children of God, "Your Property" from Cop, "I Crawled" from Young God EP). Moving, crushing, beautiful, and magnetic, Michael Gira and Co delivered one of my favorite performances at a space that has hosted its share of memorable moments: Neurosis, sunn o))), Sleep, and Throbbing Gristle.
Don't believe the hype though; it wasn't quite as overwhelmingly loud as you have been lead to believe... not that it matters either way. It was/is always more about electric performance and there is no doubt that Swans delivered on a Friday night on a quiet street in Brooklyn.
More pictures and video from the Brooklyn show, with the Swans setlist, below..
Moritz Von Oswald Trio at Unsound 2010 (more by Greg Cristman)
UNSOUND had it's first NYC event over the course of ten days in February with artists like Moritz Von Oswald Trio, Aidan Baker, Carl Craig, and a ton of others. Now the Polish organizers will make their return to NYC from in April 2011 (the 6th through 10th) for a gang of musical acts as well as "workshops, discussions and experimental events". So far the lineup hasn't been announced, save for one performance:
Making its USA premiere at Unsound Festival will be a new Unsound-commissioned project by Ben Frost & Daníel Bjarnasson, with "film manipulations" by Brian Eno and Nick Robertson. The ambitious project will celebrate the 50th anniversary (2011) of the publication of Krakow writer Stanislaw Lem's novel Solaris and will feature Frost / Bjarnasson collaborating with Sinfonietta Cracovia, one of Poland's leading orchestras.More details about the NYC event are forthcoming, but the work will make its world premiere "at Unsound Festival on the 24th of October 2010 in Krakow Poland. It will then be recorded in Krakow, for release as an album on the Icelandic label Bedroom Community."
Written for 29 string players, 2 percussionists, prepared piano, guitars and electronics, Music For Solaris has its beginnings in both Lem's original novel and the 1972 film adaptation by Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky. It is a re-imagined soundtrack for a film so still as to become almost absent, a story in sound, and an exploration of an interior cosmos. It is music written by human beings, removed and mutated by machine intelligence, then translated once more by human beings.
Integral to the project are a series of "film manipulations" by Brian Eno and Nick Robertson, drawing on moments from the original Tarkovwsky film to create a visual parallel to the music composition process. The performance will also mark the release of the album Music For Solaris.
Ben Frost meanwhile is scheduled to open the sold-out Swans show at Brooklyn Masonic Temple on 10/8. Brian Eno is currently streaming his new album Small Craft on a Milk Sea, due in November via Warp.
I can still feel my skin rippling from that Ben Frost gig. Those oceans of sound and vibration are overwhelming. -HallochHill
Ben Frost @ Littlefield microreview: The sound of the universe rending itself in two, as wolves howl into the cold. Gorgeous. Terrifying. -stribs
Ben Frost at Littlefield - Sept 15, 2010 (photo by l_c_m_tt_)
When Sónar Chicago first announced that Ben Frost would be on its inaugural line-up, their commitment to innovative electronic music became clear. This wasn't going to be a watered-down sibling to their annual Barcelona event, rather it would present dance music and experimental sounds in equal measure. Frost was an ideal candidate for bridging this gap, as his... powerful recent releases like 2007's Theory of Machines and last year's By the Throat, ensured this would be one of the most eagerly anticipated performances of the entire festival...While the review above comes from his show in Chicago as part of the Sonar festival, the tweets at the top (and the photo) come from Ben Frost's show last night (9/15) at Littlefield in Brooklyn.
Poised behind his laptop with a guitar in his hands, the image of Ben Frost on stage immediately evokes that of another guitar-laptop musician, Christian Fennesz. Instrumentation choice is where the similarities end, however, as Fennesz creates a more shimmering, ethereal reality of reserve and restraint. Frost opts instead to maximize the minimal, plotting an anxious course against the audience. With a debt owed to both Swans and Throbbing Gristle, there's little room for delicacy. -[Gapers Block]
The Icelandic electronic artist will do his best to pay any debt owed to Swans by playing Brooklyn Masonic Temple on 10/8 as the support act for the previously discussed Swans/Baby Dee shindig. Tickets are still available. Ben Frost will not appear at the now sold-out Swans show at Bowery Ballroom show on 10/9.
The NYC and Chicago show were a couple of a few that Ben Frost had planned for the US. Full tour dates and some video, including a live vid from Sonar, is below.
by Andrew Frisicano
this post concludes our Big Ears 2010 Festival coverage. links to the first two posts are also below...
"When people ask what my favorite place to play is, I tell them about this place. It's like playing inside an Easter egg," quipped My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden, gazing at the deep-sea blue dome overhead at Knoxville's Tennessee Theater. The psychedelic cavern, a mish-mash of decorative styles and colors, served as the home to the Big Ears festival's largest shows, and its final act on Sunday night, with headliner the National.
The National's presence was felt long before they took the stage - in the hand of guitarist Bryce Dessner, who co-curated the fest, in the National members' supporting gigs, playing behind Doveman, Clogs and others, and in the abundance of friends and fellow Brooklyn-ites in the Big Ears lineup. Of course, those are all connected. One look at the stage during the first song of the National's encore - "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks" off their forthcoming High Violet - revealed a selection of Big Ears' top acts - Nico Muhly, St. Vincent, Shara Worden and sometimes-National members Padma Newsome and Thomas Bartlett (Sufjan came out for a song, but not during the encore), all of whom performed earlier in the weekend on their own. (Read here about days one and two)
Attendees also had the chance to opt for music outside of that circle. At Big Ears Annex, Tim Hecker and Ben Frost collaborated for a set of fragile, icy noise (they both played on their own earlier too - Hecker opened for Bang on a Can All-Stars' performance of Music For Aiports and the Books at the TN Theater). Trio Konk Pack took the same stage later for improvised noises, pops and whirs - like the soundtrack to an invisible film. The night before, one could choose between Liturgy and Gang Gang Dance - two bands at the top of their respective genres - while Terry Riley's In C filled the Tennessee Theater to its elliptical rafters.
Around the corner from the Annex at the Pilot Light, KnoEars, an unaffiliated, somewhat anti-Big Ears DIY Fest, hosted an all-day lineup that included homemade noise, Replacements-style punk and more emanating into Sunday's rainy street.
Terry Riley, selected to be this year's resident guide, performed four times over the three days - all in different settings. Other repeat acts like Thomas Bartlett (Doveman), who played with Sam Amidon, the fest's first act (interviewed here), and The National, its last, were frequent Knoxville fixtures for the three-day fest, running to their own gigs or enjoying others'.
"Mr. Riley also enjoyed a fair number of other people's shows, especially the art-song band Clogs. ("They were the hit for me," he said, beaming over breakfast on Monday morning. "Great performers, great writing. I'm going to buy their CD when I get home.")" [NY Times]Doveman and Nico Muhly both played earlier Sunday in a set that included material from their recent Peter Pears project, the Footloose soundtrack, and their 802 tour partner Sam Amidon (who had to catch a flight to Germany). That show's headliner, St. Vincent, provided a counterpoint to their pianos with a set of songs steeped in squealing noise and leveling distortion.
More pictures and videos from the fest are below...